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Waste Minimization in Fuel Reprocessing


Development of Scientific Fundamentals for Active Waste Minimization in Extraction Spent Nuclear Fuel (SNF) Reprocessing.

Tech Area / Field

  • FIR-FUC/Fuel Cycle/Fission Reactors

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Urezchenko V M

Leading Institute
All-Russian Scientific Research Institute of Non-Organic Materials named after A. Bochvar, Russia, Moscow


  • British Nuclear Fuels Ltd (BNFL), UK, Chesire, Risley Warrington

Project summary

Presently the most important task of extraction "Purex-Process" improvement is to minimize amounts of active wastes that are to be reprocessed and disposed of.

The goal of this project is fundamental and searching studies aimed at reducing active waste amounts through elimination of sail-like and salt-forming reagents (reductants and oxidants ) from SNF reprocessing and their replacement by salt-free high efficient and cheap reagents.

The second goal of the project is to search for and study also salt-free reagents (particularly, organic bases) that can be used in place of sodium carbonate or NaOH to remove butylphosphoric acids from TBP.

The third direction in resolving the problem of active waste minimization is to develop scientific fundamentals of a new principle of U, Pu and Np separation in the "Purex-Process" that consist in performing redox-reactions not in an aqueous phase as in the case of the conventional technology but in an organic phase, namely TBP.

Development of the former two ways of active waste minimization will significantly improve the SNF reprocessing and reduce by several factors the salt content of effluents and, respectively, the amount of intermediate activity level waste (IALW) that are to be reprocessed (evaporation, calcination and butimination) followed by a long-term storage. The benefit will be 0.5-4 mln US $ per 1 t of reprocessed U.

If it is a success the third way of active waste minimization based on the new principle of U, Pu and Np separation using salt-free organic reductants in TBP phase will result in a design of an essentially new SNF reprocessing technology having advantages inherent in the "Purex-Process".

Alongside with the main goal of the project, namely, active waste minimization, another important problem, i.e., elimination of potentially explosive reagent - hydrazine, the oxidation of which results in azidcs will be resolved.